Every time a Cincinnati Reds player hits a home run this season, they throw on a Viking helmet and fur cape in the dugout and then slap hands with teammates in celebration.
The Vikings covered a lot of ground at the peak of their existence 1,000 years ago, voyaging as far as North America and the Middle East in their explorations, and the Reds are doing a good impression of their conquering ways, even without the costume. They have surged high and fast in the standings during a 10-game winning streak, the franchise’s longest since 2012.
The rebuilding project that once seemed never-ending suddenly has brought the Reds to a point where they are real contenders. On Tuesday, before an 8-6 victory against the Colorado Rockies, General Manager Nick Krall, who has run the team since October 2020 when Dick Williams resigned as president of baseball operations, spoke about what the team’s strategy will be in the weeks and months ahead now that it’s in first place.
A reporter asked Krall if the Reds would be a buyer on the trade market, especially with the starting rotation reeling from injuries to Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft and Hunter Greene.
“Yeah, we’re in first place,” Krall said. “We’re looking to win. That’s our goal. I think we want to do whatever we can for this team. I think we just need to continue to play well and see what’s out there. They’re obviously hasn’t been a good match at this point. I don’t see anything on the horizon. But you never know. And we’re just going to keep working at it.”
Last year, the Reds were sellers at the trade deadline. They sent starter Luis Castillo to the Seattle Mariners for four prospects. They also sent two starting position players, third baseman Eugenio Suárez and left fielder Jesse Winker, to the Mariners before the season in another cost-cutting move.
The Reds (39-35) owned a half game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers (38-35) through Tuesday in the National League Central Division. They are four games over .500 for the first time since they were 7-2 on April 12, 2017.
If the Reds win the series finale Wednesday afternoon against the Rockies at Great American Ball Park, they will have their longest winning streak since a 12-game run in 1957. That streak matched a 12-game streak in 1939.
Those are the best streaks for the Reds in the modern era. The Reds won 14 games in a row in 1899 and 13 in a row in 1890.
“I’m proud of the staff as a whole,” Krall said. “I’m most proud of how players have developed over the last year. Watching players on this team, you see Elly De La Cruz come from international scouting, Matt McLain and Andrew Abbott both in the ‘21 draft from our amateur scouting, Spencer Steer from pro scouting, Alex Young, a minor league free agent. We’ve had a lot of guys come through player development or come into our system through scouting. The big league coaching staff and what they’ve done with these players to put them in the best position to succeed, the players themselves to just continue to learn and work and fight to move forward, I think the whole process has really impressed me. I couldn’t ask for a better group from top to bottom.”